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Trump Ignores G20 Unity on Climate Change




representatives G20 summit 2017

Following the G20 summit, member nations released a statement reaffirming commitment to reversing climate change with one exception, the USA. World leaders showed solidarity and a unilateral desire to both promote renewable, sustainable energy sources and to decrease greenhouse gases. Except for President Trump.

The statement further strengthens the commitments first established in the Kyoto Protocols and in the more recent Paris Accords. Of course, the Trump administration made clear its intention to remove the USA from the Paris Accords. In fact, we are now learning that at the G20 summit the Trump administration pushed to work with partners to improve fossil fuel access and use them in a cleaner and more efficient manner. The Trump administration’s stance is in direct conflict with that taken by all nineteen other member nations.

2017 climate change performance index

Country rankings in the 2017 CCPI published by Germanwatch.

Yes, yes there is a debate on climate, but it’s based on data…

Gary Cohn, the head of the National Economic Council, acted as a US representative at the G20 summit. In response to a question about the Trump administration’s stance on global climate policy, he replied “Look, there’s a debate on climate.”

He is, technically, correct. There is a debate on climate. In fact, there are two. The first debate, to which Mr. Cohn refers, is the one championed by the Trump administration, climate change deniers, and the Republican Party. Furthermore, they are having it among themselves, being the only participants.

The second debate is the real one. The subject is how to save the environment. People are trying to find the best solution to mitigate, if not reverse, detrimental climate change. Included is how best to manage resources for our descendants’ survival. There is active engagement about how to promote and create technology that harvests energy from renewable and sustainable resources. The debate includes the reality on how to continue economic growth and prosperity without mortgaging the future of our species on Earth.

This one, the productive debate, uses real data collected over decades. Sure, there are many different interpretations of the data, but this is why many different people need to scrutinize the data. Yes, there are many different proposals for how to ensure a healthy future for life on earth, but debate exists to handle such situations.

Overcoming Obstacles – It’s What Humans Do

There is no reason to ignore technological advancements for clean and efficient uses of fossil fuels. Though some may offer debate, we still do require fossil fuels. However, just because we require it now, does not mean that we will in the future. If we participate in a concerted effort to change, then we can change. Humans are wonderful problem solvers. There are countless examples of how we have overcome apparent obstacles to achieve goals. For Asklepios’ sake, we can transplant organs and have made recent inroads to providing sight to the blind. We can survive in extreme temperatures and in space! Almost all of us carry around a supercomputer in our pocket, though we primarily use it to play games and watch movies, and we insist on calling it a phone.

Discovering advancements to exploit fossil fuels is a worthy endeavor, and we should pursue such technology. It’s just not the future of energy production. This is the clear statement from governments to businesses to individuals. The Trump administration’s stance on climate change and the refusal to participate in a unified global climate policy is an example of the administration’s lack of foresight and leadership on the world stage.

President of the USA, Not of the World

President Trump is absolutely correct when he states that he was voted to be the president of the United States, not of the world. The problem is that this is a shortsighted way of thinking. The countries of world are connected no matter how loud the deniers shout. We live in a global community. There is a plethora of companies operating on the global level to implement renewable, sustainable energy solutions. President Trump’s choice to ignore reality means that the United States will lag in the ability to exploit and profit from renewable energy technology. Dismissing the global community’s efforts at addressing climate issues and renewable energy means that the USA no longer has a reason for an invitation to the table for future conversations. The United States has lost credibility for even promoting solution options.

Just last week, the Australian state of South Australia and Tesla announced a partnership in sustainable energy. Tesla won a bid to install a 100MW (megawatt) Powerpack system for South Australia to be operational by December 2017. Tesla’s batteries will store energy created by the turbines of Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm. Neoen is still building the three-stage project that will produce 315MW for South Australia’s public electrical grid. The completed project will produce energy for 180,000 homes. In January 2017, the company completed the first stage which produces around 100MW.

When the results begin to show, people will not look to the United States for guidance, rather to Australia or one of the many other countries (e.g. India) that are actively promoting positive energy solutions. Fortunately for the USA, there are states, cities, and territories that are pursuing renewable energy solutions despite the federal government’s dismissal of such solutions.

A Plethora of Examples (Jefe, what is a plethora?)

Tu’a, an island in American Samoa, and Tesla completed a 7-acre solar farm in November 2016. The solar cells generate 1.4MW of electricity that transfers to sixty Tesla Powerpacks for storage. This system can provide power to the whole island for three days without sunlight and recharge in about seven hours.

The island of Kauai and Tesla completed a two-part project in March 2017. First, Tesla installed 272 Powerpacks, storing 52MW of electricity, into Kauai’s existing solar grid. The second part was the construction of a 50-acre solar farm. The farm consists of solar panels producing 13MW of electricity.

The energy company Southern California Edison and Tesla completed a project in January 2017. The project saw the installation of 396 Powerpacks with an 80MW capacity. The purpose is to provide further stability to southern California’s electrical grid and reduce reliance on natural gas.

The options available for harnessing renewable energy are staggering. Our own Saul Bowden reported in April about the advancements in creating a road that captures solar power. There are water pipes with mini-turbines inside to capture energy during municipal water use. Wind trees are available, aesthetically pleasing, low maintenance, and able to produce around 2,400 kWh per year. We have transparent windows that can capture solar energy. Of course, we must not forget the old solar panel for homes, though now they are smaller, more efficient, and almost unbreakable.

Leadership Is Needed, There Need Not Be Only One

These are just a few examples of the myriad options for harnessing renewable and sustainable sources of energy. When all options are taken together, it proves that people want this kind of energy. And they want it because climate change is real and fossil fuels are a finite source. If President Trump and his administration continue to force antithetical solutions, then leadership will be found elsewhere. If the Trump administration’s decisions cost economic progress, then in a short time he will be on the receiving end of upset capitalists.

Now, the G20 countries will work toward ratifying laws in support of the agreements. There is still much that can change depending on each country’s own politics. Regardless, the unified commitment is the important part. If President Trump wants any say in global energy policy over the next four years, he should start taking into consideration opposing views. Otherwise, the United States will soon find itself at the back of the pack.

Archaeology, technology, science, movies and TV shows, video games, government and politics, reading sci-fi and fantasy, '60s/70s classic rock. These are the areas in which I spend my days (somewhere in there are food and travel...).


What’s Under the Ice in Antarctica? A long-lost land with very different terrain





South America is covered in a layer of ice that is about 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) thick. A continental landmass with rocky mountains, volcanoes, and sizable canyons that humans have carved out over millions of years is beneath this ice. This is different from the Arctic in the Northern Hemisphere.

There are decades’ worth of satellite data and radar surveys that have made it possible to see the “lumps and bumps” of the long-lost bedrock.

It is one of the most complete maps of Antarctica, which is the world’s southernmost continental landmass.

The project was a huge undertaking that involved 19 research organizations from around the world, such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, the University of California Irvine, the British Antarctic Survey, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Australian government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program, and many more. It was published in 2019.


The map is interesting to look at, like using X-ray glasses to see inside a continent covered in ice. But it could also be used in science. Researchers can use the map’s data to learn a lot about Antarctica’s geographical mysteries, such as the continent’s shape and the future of its unstable ice sheets.

The canyon below the Denman Glacier was much bigger than I thought it would be from the map. Denman Trough, which is full of ice, is the deepest place on continental Earth. It is 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) below sea level.

“Older maps showed a canyon that was shallower, but that wasn’t possible; something was missing.” We know how much ice flows through the canyon because of the principle of conservation of mass. Based on our calculations, the canyon is 3,500 meters below sea level, making it the deepest place on land. In 2019, Mathieu Morlighem, an associate professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, said, “Because it’s not very wide, it has to be deep for that much ice mass to reach the coast.”

Ice has been covering most of Antarctica for millions and millions of years, covering more than 97% of the continent. There are almost 4.9 kilometers (3 miles) of ice at its thickest point, which is the height of six Burj Khalifas stacked on top of each other.

The land is very harsh, though, and ice is only one part of it. One less well-known fact about Antarctica is that it often erupts in volcanoes. In 2017, one study found 138 volcanoes in West Antarctica alone. Eight or nine of the volcanoes in Antarctica are thought to be active, even though most of them are not active. Mount Erebus is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Antarctica. It is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and the tallest active volcano in Antarctica, with a peak that is 3,794 meters (12,448 feet) high.

It’s simple to picture Antarctica as a cold and, dare we say it, dull ice cube at the Earth’s core. But if you look more closely, you’ll see that it’s a world that is always changing and is full of secrets and strange stories.

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Hurricane Beryl sets a new record for the season’s first hurricane, and officials warn of danger





Beryl is the first named hurricane of the Atlantic season this year. It has already made history before it even got to the Caribbean this morning, and officials say it looks like it will keep doing so.

When does the Atlantic hurricane season start? It starts on June 1 and ends on November 30. The first named hurricane usually happens in early to mid-August, and the first major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) usually happens between late August and early September.

Hurricane Beryl has already gone against the flow twice. A tropical storm gave it its start in late June, on Friday, the 28th. Second, it quickly became a major hurricane. On Sunday, its strong winds made it a Category 4 storm, making it the earliest storm of that strength to ever form in the Atlantic.

Gif of satellite footage of Hurricane Beryl as it moves into the Caribbean.

An advisory from the National Hurricane Center this morning said that Beryl will still be an “extremely dangerous” hurricane when it hits land in the Caribbean, even though it has weakened back down to Category 3.

“Hurricane-force winds, a life-threatening storm surge, and damaging waves could be very bad when Beryl goes over parts of the Windward Islands. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada will have the highest risk of the core starting later this morning,” the center said.

The storm’s strongest sustained winds are now estimated to be around 195 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour). Winds that are that strong can uproot trees and do a lot of damage to even well-built homes.

The National Hurricane Center also said that the storm surge could raise water levels up to 1.8 to 2.7 meters (6 to 9 feet) above normal tide levels. This would bring “large and destructive” waves to coastal areas.

With 7.6 to 15.2 centimeters (3 to 6 inches) of possible rain, it’s easy to see why people in the Caribbean islands that will be hit by the hurricane first are being told to get ready as much as they can.

If your home is unsafe or could suffer damage from flooding or wind, stay put or move to a safe place. Food, water, and medicine should be kept safe for at least seven days in containers that won’t leak. Drains outside should be clear, and any loose items should be safely in place by now. “Put sandbags by all of your home’s doors,” the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service warned early Monday morning.

It’s going to stay a “powerful hurricane” even after Beryl moves across the Caribbean Sea and over those first islands.

The damage from this hurricane is already clear, but it might not be the only one this year. The National Weather Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in May that the 2024 hurricane season would be “extraordinary,” with four to seven major hurricanes possible.

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The US is expected to have a record-breaking heatwave this week, with temperatures rising to very high levels





This week, it looks like it will be very hot in the US because the first big heatwave of the season is starting. During the first half of the week, it could get as hot as all-time highs in parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic. Extreme temperatures that will last for so long in some places haven’t happened in decades.

From the Ohio Valley to the Northeast, many daily high-temperature records and even some monthly records for June could be broken. High temperatures in some places are expected to reach up to 40.5 °C (105 °F).

US residents will also have to deal with heavy rain, flash flooding, snow, and storms in different parts of the country. High temperatures aren’t the only weather problem that will happen.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says that in the new week, there will be “heavy wet snow across the northern Rockies.” Deep tropical moisture is also expected to move ashore across the Gulf Coast States, which could mean heavy rain. This danger goes all the way to the upper Midwest, where flash flooding and a few big storms are likely to happen.

The heatwave will now move from the central Plains to the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, and the Northeast today. It will stay in the Northeast through the middle of the week, according to the most recent report from the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center.

Over the next few days, a low-pressure system is expected to move across the central High Plains and get stronger as it moves toward and reaches the upper Midwest. The Weather Prediction Center says that “a heat wave is quickly emerging” ahead of this low-pressure system.

The heat will move into the Northeast by Tuesday. As far north as Vermont and New Hampshire, high temperatures will reach well into the 90s [90°F/32°C]. Some places in the middle of New England could see temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) by Wednesday afternoon. In some places, this would be a daily record high.

Axios says this means that by Sunday, the air will have reached or been above 32°C (90°F) in 268 million places.

In the Four Corners region of the southwestern US, on the other hand, “critical fire danger conditions are anticipated today under persistently dry conditions.”

As the NWS points out, heat is the main cause of weather-related deaths in the US. Because of this, they want people to take the heatwave seriously and be careful, especially older people, pregnant women and babies, and people who already have persistent health problems. See the NWS’s helpful guides for tips on how to stay safe in the heat.

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